Intellectual and Moral Education
In my opinion, one of the most interesting aspects of Huckleberry Finn is the idea that "moral" education is simply a method of maintaing social conventions. Twain explores this idea in part through his idea of racism. Twain was aware that his existing readers would have believed that slavery was clearly morally wrong. So he introduced a character whose "conscience" bothered him when he thought about freeing a slave. You might consider whether this casts doubt on the idea that people can teach others to be moral. What are they really teaching? Can we ever escape our own biases and act in a truly moral manner?
The book shows intellectual education is he was told one thing that slavery was morally acceptable, but he experienced another that slavery was wrong. Sometimes, even in the behaviors of some of the people who told him slavery was acceptable, Huck could see the opposite was the case. Huckleberry Finn did the right thing; he acted on the basis of the proper values; but he did not know why. Huck was a poor, uneducated boy, an a orphan, he distrusts the morals and precepts of the society that treats him as an outcast and fails to protect him from abuse. The idea he has about society, and his relationship with Jim, lead Huck to question the things he learned, especially regarding race and slavery. Huck bases his decisions on the experiences, his own sense of logic, and what his conscience tells him. Away from civilization, Huck is especially free from society’s rules, able to make his own decisions without restriction. He comes to his own conclusions of rules and values of Southern culture. By the end of the book, Huck has learned to read the world around him, to distinguish good, bad, right, wrong, enemy, friend, and other things.
Hypocrisy of a civilized society
When Huck planned to head west at the end of the novel in order to escape “civilizing,” he is trying to avoid more than regular baths and mandatory...